Traveling Men

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Leonard “Fuzzy” Fiderius (left) Christina Fiderius (center) and Joseph Fiderius (right)

I have written a little about my Great- Grandmother Mary Fiderius, but nothing about her parents or brothers and sister.  Today I am writing about her brother’s Leonard and Joseph. 

Several years ago I hit a brick wall on the Fiderius line of my family tree, and I just haven’t gotten back to it.  However, I did think of this line when I saw that this week’s theme from 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is Travel.  Way back in the 1990’s I worked at a library, and we received some computer Cd’s (pre-Internet) with phone books from all over the country (USA) on them.  At the reference desk, we were told to learn how to use them so we could help patrons.  I started putting in all the surnames of my ancestors.  When I got to Fiderius only three showed up in the whole country and they were in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  I knew my grandfather was born in Toledo, Ohio and Fiderius was his mother’s maiden name.  I figured they must be related, and way back then the only way to contact them was telephone or regular mail.  I was too shy to telephone so I wrote each one a letter.  I received a very nice letter from Erick Fiderius (my second cousin 1X removed).   The other two I wrote to were his father and his sister.  He told me about my great-grandmother’s brothers, Leonard and Joseph.  He also included a picture of my great-great grandmother Christina Oberdoester with her son’s Leonard and Joseph (see above).

Here is what Erick wrote on January 6, 1997I was delighted to receive your letter requesting information on your family lineage.  I am in fact related to your Great Grandmother Mary Beischer.  She would be my Great Aunt and sister of Joseph Fiderius, my Grandfather (about 1877 – 1970).  His brother Leonard was my Great Uncle “ Fuzzy” who must have gotten his nickname from his curly hair (see photo on left).  Fuzzy met his wife in Altoona, PA. I’m not sure but possibly your Great Grandmother Mary could have been from around that area. Both Joe and Fuzzy lived the majority of their adult life and died in the Cleveland area.  They were both very involved (held elected positions) in the early start of the local and possibly the national brotherhood of electricians, and I remember hearing stories of how they spent time (1920-1940’s?) working or wiring many of the old amusement parks of the day form Cleveland and east to NY (such as Luna Park and Euclid Beach Park).”

There was more to letter, but about other ancestors.  I found it interesting that they traveled around the country wiring amusement parks.  I wonder how many they did and where they were all located.  I have great memories of going to Riverview in Chicago.  It doesn’t sound like they made it west to Chicago to wire Riverview, but who knows maybe they did.  Since 1997, I have done more research on Leonard and Joseph and here is a short biography of each.  

Leonard Adam Fiderius was born 20 October 1884 in Cleveland, Ohio to Peter Fiderius and Christine Oberdoester.[i]  Leonard married Louisa C. Wagner on 24 November 1909 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.[ii]   Leonard did travel around wiring amusement parks as Erick said in his letter.  In 1907 Leonard was the chief electrician in the construction of a Luna Park in Scranton, Pennsylvania. [iii]  Around the same time he was chief electrician for Luna Park, he purchased a moving picture theater Dreamland in Hazelton, Pennsylvania and renamed it Bijou Dream.[iv]  Two months later he is trying to sell it.[v]  In 1914 Leonard is named chief electrician for the year at Luna Park.[vi]  While I was researching Leonard, I was surprised to find this headline:  19 indicted by Cleveland Jury.  Here is a transcript of the entire article from 20 June 1914:

“Cleveland, June 20 – (AP)— Nineteen electrical construction contractors and officials of the Cleveland Electrical Workers Union were indicted by the county grand jury here today on charges of violation of the Valentine antitrust law. 

The indictments charge the men entered into a conspiracy to fix prices on electrical construction jobs that they prevented competitive bidding.  The grand jury investigation followed three weeks of investigation.

Those indicted were Louis G. Kubach, John H. Fitzgerald, L. A. Fiderius, Herbert C. Mohr, Godfrey C. Davis, Albert G. Koestle, John A. Linden, William C. Schuur, Adolph P. Goldberger, Charles N. Dennison, Henry C, Morlock, Max Rapport, Herman R. Keppler, J. B. Morgan, George W. Billington, William E. Ranney, L. Wolfert, George W. Malone and Tom C. Fowler.

Fowler is president and Kubach secretary of the Electrical Business Association, a contractors’ organization, which according to Prosecutor Ray T. Miller, conspired with the union.

Fitzgerald and Fiderius are officers of the union forced the contractors to submit to the conspiracy under threat of withdrawing labor from jobs.  The contractors allegedly were required to bid on jobs at agreed prices and to take turns bidding.”[vii]

I could not find out if he was convicted or not.  Leonard lived a long live and passed away on 4 September 1970 at 85 years, 10 months, and 15 days in Cleveland, Ohio.[viii]

Joseph P. Fiderius was born on 7 December 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio[ix]  Joseph enlisted in the Army on 12 November 1917 and received an honorable discharge 30 November 1918.[x]  Joseph worked as an electrician.[xi]  Joseph married Mary Louise Kardos on 19 May 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio.[xii]  Joseph and Mary Louise had one child, Walter, born 1 May 1920[xiii]  It seems Joseph lived a rather quiet life compared to his brother Leonard.  Joseph passed away on 11 January 1975 at 85 years, 1 month, and 4 days in Cleveland, Ohio[xiv

* Sad Note:  Erick Fiderius passed away on 7 March 2009 at 54 years old in Cleveland, Ohio.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[i] Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[ii] Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania website: http://www.lpa-homes.org/LPA_Public_Inquiries/Views/CAXMLW_Views/MRG460DW.aspx  Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania marriage applications:  Fiderius, Leonard/Wagner, Louise C., Book 93, Page 202, File Number 0093-00202,Marriage date: 11/24/1909.

[iii] The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) 17 May 1908, Sunday,  Page 6.

[iv] The Plain Speaker (Hazelton, Pennsylvania) 12 October 1907,  Saturday, Page 5.

[v] Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 8 December 1907, Sunday, Page 42.

[vi] The Scranton Truth (Scranton, Pennsylvania) 29 April 1914, Wednesday, Page1.

[vii] Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), 20 June 1920, Friday, Page 8.

[viii] Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.Original data:  Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.

[ix] Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831776; Draft Board: 12. Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

[x] Ancestry.com. Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.

[xi] The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147.  Source Information:   Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

[xii] Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 103; Page: 296; Year Range: 1917 Jun – 1920 Oct.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

[xiii] Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[xiv] Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.  Original data:Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.  Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA.

*Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

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